Oral Health by Age/Stage
Should I Be Concerned About Dental Health During Pregnancy?
Yes! If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, it is important to see your dentist to make sure your teeth and gums are healthy.
Although babies have the beginnings of their first teeth before they are born, teeth don’t erupt until around 6–8 months. Even though your baby doesn’t have teeth, it is still important to take care of your child’s gums.
By 3 years of age, all of your baby’s 20 primary (baby) teeth are usually fully erupted.
It’s Tooth Fairy time! Around age 6, your child will begin to lose primary teeth in the front and gain permanent teeth in the front and back.
By 12-13 years of age, all of the baby teeth are usually gone, and all of the permanent “adult” teeth are in except for the 3rd molars (wisdom teeth), which most often arrive by age 21.
Nutrition and Prevention
Healthy eating habits are important for oral health. The foods we choose and how often we eat them can affect our general health and oral health. Consuming sugary sodas, sweetened fruit drinks or non-nutritious snacks often increases the risk of cavities. Additionally, a diet lacking certain nutrients may make it more difficult for tissues in the mouth to resist infection, contributing to gum disease.
While dental injuries for children are fairly common, they can be stressful and nerve-wracking for you and your child. Read through some of the following helpful tips when assessing your child’s dental emergency.
- Remain calm. With a clear head, you will be able to act more promptly and effectively help minimize your child’s injury and calm their distress.
- If your child hit their head and lost consciousness even for a brief moment, and/or if one pupil seems larger than the other, TAKE YOUR CHILD TO THE HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM RIGHT AWAY! Worry about the teeth later.
- Use a clean washcloth or gauze to stop bleeding and inspect your child’s mouth. If there are broken or missing teeth, look for the teeth or teeth fragments.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Dental X-Rays Safe?
There is very little risk with dental x-rays. We evaluate the need for x-rays before each appointment, and base it on your child’s age, caries risk assessment, and dental development. We are extremely careful to limit the amount of unnecessary x-rays that your child receives. We use digital radiographs to minimize the amount of radiation.
What To Do About Pacifiers or Thumb Sucking?
Thumb sucking is a habit that often starts while your child is still in the womb. It is a natural instinct that helps prepare your infant for nursing. Infants and young children often use thumbs, fingers, pacifiers or other available objects to satisfy their sucking needs (non-nutritive sucking habits). This can give your child a sense of security, happiness, and relaxation that can even lull them to sleep.
Most children quit their thumb/pacifier sucking by age 3, or at least by school age (due to peer pressure). At this stage, any dental problems (tooth movement, jaw-shape changes) that have resulted from your child’s sucking habit will usually correct on its own. If your child’s thumb sucking or pacifier use continues past 4 years of age (or when permanent teeth arrive), full self-correction is far less likely, and there are possibly other issues that are perpetuating the habit that should be explored. Stress may exacerbate the thumb-sucking problem, thus scolding your child for thumb sucking is not recommended. It is better to use positive reinforcement to motivate your child to quit the habit. Finding and eliminating the source of stress can also be really helpful.